Monday, December 18, 2006

Louisville's Dirty War On Dogs The latest version of Louisville, Kentucky's massive animal control proposal has been published. And the American Kennel Club and its local ally, the Louisville Kennel Club, duly released their analysis .

This ordinance will have a devastating effect on dog owners and breeders in Louisville and may have a dramatic impact on the Kentuckiana Cluster, the largest dog show cluster in the country.

They're right, of course. The proposed changes will have a devastating effect. But they are too kind. And way too polite.

The "dramatic effect on the Kentuckiana Cluster" doesn't mean jack to me.

Let's get down to it. This ordinance will. . .

Screw the average dog owner to the wall

Its painful to watch Metro Louisville City Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton, a woman with a law degree, a person of color, a Democrat representing a district that is both predominantly black and predominantly poor try to strip the citizens of Louisville of their civil rights and take their dogs away from them.

Cheri Bryant Hamilton hates dogs.

You knew that. She's a client of the Humane Society of the United States.

But she hates her constituency, too. Her proposal invents more ways to take their dogs away from them than you would have thought possible.

For example:

Limit laws: 3 is the magic number

Under the proposal, no matter how well you care for your pets, the limit is three dogs if you live on less than half an acre of land.

Now, I ask you: Who, generally speaking, lives on the smallest properties in Louisville and will be disproportionately affected by this limit law?

What option will caring and responsible dog owners have for pets they have loved and cherished over the years when, under the new Louisville ordinance, they are "over the limit"?

What will happen to those middle-aged, blameless pets whose owners can't afford more land? Many of them will be surrendered to shelters. Most of them will die there. Its very hard to find new homes for older animals. And if Louisville's limit law goes into effect, there will lots of older, displaced pets looking for new homes.

How "humane" is that?

Limit laws have been found unconstitutional in a number of places. Depriving people of their pets (their private property) based solely on the number of animals they own is wrong. There are fairer, more democratic ways to address any sanitation or noise issues, through nuisance noise ordinances and enforcement of sanitation laws.

But Cheri Bryant Hamilton isn't interested.

She's too busy making it hard for poor people to own a dog.

"Tethering": How much does good fencing cost in Louisville, anyway?

Tethering is a huge buzz word in the "animal protection" biz at the moment. And let's face it, no one likes the thought of a dog tied up 24/7.

On the other hand, good, solid, dog-proof fencing is expensive. Really expensive. Many caring dog owners-- who worry about their dogs getting over or under a shaky fence-- tether their dogs. And like many things in life, there's a "good way" and a "bad way" to do it.

But the Louisville proposal makes it impossible. Under Councilwoman Hamilton's proposal:

It would be illegal to use anything shorter than a 10 foot tether. So if you're in the habit of tying your dog's leash to a parking meter while you go in to pick up a loaf of bread, forget it. That would be illegal.

It would be illegal to use anything other than a tether with a swivel on each end. So if you like to take your dog with you when you picnic in the park, tying her to a tree or bench while you eat, forget it. Also illegal under the Louisville proposal.

Do you enjoy tying your dog to the nearest tree while you work in the yard? You had better work fast. Under the proposal, your limit is one hour out of each eight. Anything more than that is illegal.

It would be also be illegal to tether a dog between the hours of 8:00 a. m. and 6:00 p. m. So if you want the dog outside while the baby naps in the afternoon? Forget it. You have to build a fence.

So start saving up for fencing now, Louisville residents.

Over 100 pages of proposals: a disaster waiting for every Louisville dog owner

There's lots more in that proposal. Fees go up dramatically. Negative profiling and stereotyping of not only dogs, but DOG OWNERS is perpetuated. Allowing your dog to "irritate" people is against the law. Police state powers for the Metro Animal Services. Due process rights of dog owners discarded. It goes on and on and on.

The Humane Society of the United States suggested and endorsed the breed specific laws and has guided Cheri Bryant Hamilton at every turn. HSUS remains one of the very few organizations which actually support the proposal.

Louisville will become a war zone for dog owners, and HSUS isn't complaining about any of the above proposals. HSUS is leaving good dog owners to scramble for cover.

It will be a long, long time before I donate to the HSUS.

And longer still before I vote for Cheri Bryant Hamilton.

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